Intranet

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An intranet is a computer network that uses Internet Protocol technology to share information, operational systems, or computing services within an organization. This term is used in contrast to internet, a network between organizations, and instead refers to a network within an organization. Sometimes, the term refers only to the organization's internal website, but may be a more extensive part of the organization's information technology infrastructure, and may be composed of multiple local area networks. The objective is to organize each individual's desktop with minimal cost, time and effort to be more productive, cost efficient, timely, and competitive.

An intranet may host multiple private websites and constitute an important component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration. Any of the well known Internet protocols may be found in an intranet, such as HTTP (web services), SMTP (e-mail), and FTP (file transfer protocol). Internet technologies are often deployed to provide modern interfaces to legacy information systems hosting corporate data.

An intranet can be understood as a private analog of the Internet, or as a private extension of the Internet confined to an organization. The first intranet websites and home pages were published in 1991,[1][2] and began to appear in non-educational organizations in 1994.[3]

Intranets are sometimes contrasted to extranets. While intranets are generally restricted to employees of the organization, extranets may also be accessed by customers, suppliers, or other approved parties.[4] Extranets extend a private network onto the Internet with special provisions for authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA protocol).

In many organizations, intranets are protected from unauthorized external access by means of a network gateway and firewall. For smaller companies, intranets may be created simply by using private IP address ranges, such as 192.168.0.0/16. In these cases, the intranet can only be directly accessed from a computer in the local network; however, companies may provide access to off-site employees by using a virtual private network, or by other access methods, requiring user authentication and encryption.

Uses[edit]

Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools, e.g. collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and customer relationship management tools, project management etc., to advance productivity.

Intranets are also being used as corporate culture-change platforms. For example, large numbers of employees discussing key issues in an intranet forum application could lead to new ideas in management, productivity, quality, and other corporate issues.

In large intranets, website traffic is often similar to public website traffic and can be better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity. User surveys also improve intranet website effectiveness. Larger businesses allow users within their intranet to access public internet through firewall servers. They have the ability to screen messages coming and going keeping security intact.

When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers and others outside the business, that part becomes part of an extranet. Businesses can send private messages through the public network, using special encryption/decryption and other security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.

Intranet user-experience, editorial, and technology teams work together to produce in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are managed by the communications, HR or CIO departments of large organizations, or some combination of these.

Because of the scope and variety of content and the number of system interfaces, intranets of many organizations are much more complex than their respective public websites. Intranets and their use are growing rapidly. According to the Intranet design annual 2007 from Nielsen Norman Group, the number of pages on participants' intranets averaged 200,000 over the years 2001 to 2003 and has grown to an average of 6 million pages over 2005–2007.[5]

Benefits[edit]

Planning and creation[edit]

Most organizations devote considerable resources into the planning and implementation of their intranet as it is of strategic importance to the organization's success. Some of the planning would include topics such as:

These are in addition to the hardware and software decisions (like content management systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality), and features to be supported.[11]

Intranets are often static sites. Essentially they are a shared drive, serving up centrally stored documents alongside internal articles or communications (often one-way communication). However organisations are now starting to think of how their intranets can become a 'communication hub' for their team by using companies specialising in 'socialising' intranets.[12] The actual implementation would include steps such as:

Another useful component in an intranet structure might be key personnel committed to maintaining the Intranet and keeping content current. For feedback on the intranet, social networking can be done through a forum for users to indicate what they want and what they do not like.

Intranet software[edit]

Microsoft SharePoint is the dominant software used for creating intranets. Estimates indicate that around 50% of all intranets are developed using SharePoint,[17] however there are many alternatives.[18] Other popular intranet software includes:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luk, A. (9 May 1991). "Fujikama goes Unix". IEEE Pacific Rim Conference on Communications, Computers and Signal Processing, 1991 (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 2: 783–786. doi:10.1109/PACRIM.1991.160857. ISBN 0879426381. Retrieved 2013-03-04. "The internet and intranet Unix network provide a functioning email facility around the world." 
  2. ^ Richardson, C.; Schoultz, M. (14 October 1991). "Formation flight system design concept". Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 1991. Proceedings., IEEE/AIAA 10th: 18–25. doi:10.1109/DASC.1991.177138. Retrieved 2013-03-04. "The data transfer task is broken up into two network solutions: an intranet used for transferring data among formation members at high update rates to support close formation flight and an internet used for transferring data among the separate formations at lower update rates." 
  3. ^ Nielsen, J. and Sano, D., '1994 Design of SunWeb - Sun Micro-systems' Intranet', Useit.com, 1994.
  4. ^ Callaghan, J (2002). Inside Intranets & Extranets: Knowledge Management AND the Struggle for Power. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-98743-8. 
  5. ^ Pernice Coyne, Kara; Schwartz, Mathew; Nielsen, Jakob (2007), "Intranet Design Annual 2007", Nielsen Norman Group
  6. ^ a b c McGovern, Gerry (November 18, 2002). "Intranet return on investment case studies". Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Making the most of your corporate intranet". April 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  8. ^ Wright, Andrew. "8 good business reasons for having an intranet". Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Wright, Andrew. "From innovation to operation: the role of the intranet". Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Ward, Toby (2006-06-11). "Leading an intranet redesign". IntranetBlog. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  11. ^ LaMee, James A. (2002-04-30). "Intranets and Special Libraries: Making the most of inhouse communications". University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  12. ^ Scaplehorn, geoff (2010-03-01). "Bringing the internet indoors - socialising your intranet". IntranetBlog. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  13. ^ Ward, Toby. "Planning: An Intranet Model for success Intranet". Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  14. ^ "Intranet: Table of Contents – Macmillan Computer Sciences: Internet and Beyond". Bookrags.com. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  15. ^ "Intranet benchmarking explained". Intranet Benchmarking Forum. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Benchmarking intranet end user satisfaction". Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  17. ^ Wright, Andrew. "On what technologies do companies use to develop their intranets". Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Wright, Andrew. "What alternatives are there to SharePoint for an intranet?". Retrieved 3 September 2013.